Scarlet-X – RIG madness all over again – C300 wins

November 20th, 2011

Remember the time when the 5D was out and there was basically nothing compatible and affordable for it in terms of shoulder rigs and accessories? Good old days…
Well it looks like for some people this time has come all over again. With the RED Scarlet-X that has been announced just 3 weeks ago there’s a new tech revolution on the horizon. 4K cinema quality for $10k US dollars. That’s a huge leap forward for independent and low budget filmmakers, but there’s a catch!: MORE >>


The Basic Setup
Well $10k that’s an amazing price, but wait, that’s body only and you need a lot of expensive accessories to make this thing actually work. The problem is that all this RED stuff is proprietary and it doesn’t come cheap at all. It looks like the minimum configuration to run this camera costs another $4000. Yes you heard me right 4k to make it work. Here’s the growing Scarlet-X buyers guide if you want to know the details:

(please add stuff there)

Scarlet Handheld?
Indeed the steel cube alone isn’t really comfy on the shoulder on its own and we need some stuff to physically control this thing.
In the past three years we’ve seen tons of handheld rigs custom made for HDSRL, the prices have gone down drastically but most of these rigs will not be great for the Scarlet-X. We’re running into 2 issues there:

1. The height issue:
As you may have realized an HDSLRs lens port is unusually low to the bottom of the camera which creates a necessity for risers in order to get the lens up so it fits into our matte box and goes with a normal follow focus. Most of the gear we’re used to goes with the 15mm lightweight rod standard. That is 85mm below the optical axis of the camera and the rods are 60mm apart.

Bigger cameras have a different rod standard though. This one is often referred to as “studio” and this is where the rods are wider apart (100mm). Often they’re 19mm rods but you can also get 15mm studio setups. They are 118mm below the optical axis of the camera.
The Scarlet-X’s height is made for studio setups so it’s hard or unpractical to get the lightweight 15mm rod standard we’ve been used to.

If you put your normal 15mm rods underneath the Scarlet you probably won’t be able to easily fit a matte box and follow focus. And using studio rods makes most of that other gear you already have incompatible.

2. The camera goes on the shoulder again:
The weight of an HDSLR is light enough to be tolerated in front of our faces, but the Scarlet-X (over 2.5kg / 6lbs) really needs to rest on the shoulder thus creating the need for a different than HDSLR shoulder setup and an EVF.

In comparison the Canon C300 (3lbs / 1.25kg) will allow for a much simpler, more backwards compatible and much more affordable setup.

On Reduser.net there’s a topic that says “The score so far – Scarlet-X: 115; EOS C300: 1” and I agree with the posts in this topic that the Scarlet has a lot of huge benefits over the C300, but this one point definitely goes to Canon.

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